Zemira Palmer is my third-great grandfather. In 2010 I was given tons of information about him by two angel cousins. With their permission I share it all!! - Deniane Kartchner

Contact: denianek@gmail.com

Sally Knight Palmer

Sally Knight Palmer

Zemira's Wives

The photos of Zemira's two wives were contributed by Lucile Brubaker

and her mother, Lenna Cox Wilcock. Thanks!

Caroline Jacques Palmer

Caroline Jacques Palmer


Unless otherwise noted, the main source for this blog (including the introduction) is a history titled “ZEMIRA PALMER, 1831 – 1880, His Life and Family in Early L.D.S. Church History.” This history was prepared by Lenna Cox Wilcock and sent to Deniane Kartchner via email by Lenna's daughter, Lucile Brubaker, with Lenna and Lucile's permission to post on this blog with the stipulation it be used for family history purposes only and not for financial gain. Lenna and Lucile are descendants of Zemira Palmer through his wife Caroline Jacques.

I have posted the history in segments exactly as Lenna wrote them (with the exception of adding details needed to help the sections stand alone).


Zemira Palmer was born the year after The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day-Saints was organized in Fayette, New York. Living amongst the earliest “Mormon” converts, his entire life and that of his family was inextricably inter-woven with that of the early Saints.

The faith of the Palmer and Draper families, as with all the Saints, was severely tried and tested as they were swept along in the turbulent stream of Mormonism in its desperate struggle for survival while defending their freedom to worship their God as they chose. As Utah Pioneers they contributed greatly in making the desert blossom as a rose in the rugged western American frontier.

One month before his death, in a letter to his sister Zemira made the following statement, and by living according to what it expresses, he was worthy to gain the great reward of which it speaks:

“. . . There is one thing which seems to be true, the Lord is fulfilling His promises. He has said by the mouths of His prophets that He would send judgments on the wicked & trials on the faithful, so that everyone that can be shaken, will be, and those who cannot be shaken, shall gain the great reward of eternal life & supreme happiness.”1

1- Excerpt from letter written by Zemira Palmer to his sister Lovina Palmer Munroe Sept. 18, 1880.

* * * * *

Zemira Palmer History on this blog


(17) Mormons and Nauvoo, Illinois

Nauvoo, engraving by Hermann Myers, Illinois State Museum Collection

When the pitiful exiles reached the state of Illinois, the people in Hancock County and in Quincy and Lima in Adams County Illinois received them kindly. The Mormons, ever resourceful and industrious, set to work, and soon settlements began springing up in Hancock and other Counties. (Refer to Map 5)

Following five months of confinement in Liberty jail, (November to April), the Prophet Joseph Smith escaped and made his way to Illinois. To provide more room for their people to settle, the Church leaders purchased extensive land in April 1839. This land included a small swampy place called Commerce.  It was so wet that a man had difficulty walking across most of it, and teams became mired to their hips. No one else wanted it, so the cost was very minimal.33  It was an unhealthy place and many became victims to malaria, even the Prophet Joseph Smith being stricken.

This is the time when Joseph arose from his sickbed, and he and other Priesthood leaders went through the camps on both sides of the river, and miraculously healed all the sick. (One of these later was to become Zemira’s mother-in-law, Lydia Goldthwaite Knight, Sally’s mother. She was healed by having a handkerchief belonging to the Prophet Joseph wound around her brow.34)

Under the inspired leadership of the Prophet, the swamps were drained, and on that land, formerly known as Commerce, the city of Nauvoo was built. Yet they had very little money, and penniless converts by the hundreds kept gathering with the Saints at Nauvoo. There, in spite of their poverty, on April 3, 1841 they began construction of another temple, and eventually Nauvoo became one of the most beautiful cities in Illinois, with prosperous farms on the outskirts of the city.

33- Church of Jesus Christ of LDS, Truth Restored, pp. 60-61 – Mississippi River swamp land purchased.
34- History of Sally Knight - Sally’s mother healed with Prophet’s handkerchief.

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Lucile Brubaker (and her mother Lenna Cox Wilcock) are also contributing to this blog.